Christian, a 6-year-old boy, was a victim of parental neglect involving physical and emotional maltreatment. He had been living with his birth father and stepmother when he was taken into custody of the Monroe County Department of Social Services in August 2004. Christian’s birth mother hadn’t been heard from in years, which led to the termination of her parental rights based on abandonment.
From August 2004 to May 2005, Christian had experienced three different placements at county-level foster homes. His behaviors included aggressive actions toward younger children, hitting, kicking, biting and pushing. His father was allowed to have supervised visits, which did occur but not on a regular schedule. In May 2005 the county referred Christian for placement in Kinship Family and Youth Services’ Therapeutic Foster Care Program.
Christian’s first placement through the program was in a home where he was the only child. This placement lasted only one month due to several reports of new behaviors the family was not willing to deal with. These included urinating and smearing feces all over the bathroom, setting small fires, sneaking and hiding matches, wandering around the house in the middle of the night, turning the home thermostat up to 90 degrees, and eventually hurting — intentionally or unintentionally — the family’s small dog.
In June 2005 Christian was admitted to Kinship Children’s Home for a diagnostic evaluation. After three months of therapeutic treatment the recommendation was that he be placed in another therapeutic foster home. He was placed with Karen, a single mom of a 15-year-old son, Kevin. After several visits with Christian at the children’s home and at Karen and Kevin’s home, it was decided that Christian should live with them.
The day that Christian moved in, he ran up the steps to the front door and announced that Karen and Kevin’s home was his new home forever! Shortly after, Christian’s birth father visited and decided to surrender his parental rights. Christian was adopted by Karen in December 2006, with Christian’s birth aunt and cousins attending the adoption ceremony. In April 2007, the trio took their first trip as a family to Disney World.